When Raj Babbar was fired from Amitabh Bachchan, Smita Patil-starrer 'Namak Halaal'

22 June,2024 02:56 PM IST |  Mumbai  |  mid-day online correspondent

Raj Babbar Birthday: As the actor turns 72, we look back at the time he was cast and then fired from the 1982 film `Namak Halaal`

Raj Babbar and still from Namak Halaal

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Actor Raj Babbar started his career in the film industry in the late 70s. He gained prominence with his performance in the 1980s film 'Insaaf Ka Taraazu' He was then seen in films like 'Main Aawara Hoon', Nikaah' and many more. But did you know he was cast in the Amitabh Bachchan -starrer 'Namak Halaal' as well?

As Raj Babbar turns 72 on June 23, we look back at the time he was cast and then fired from the film 'Namak Halaal'. The film directed by Prakash Mehra was supposed to star Vinod Khanna alongside Amitabh Bachchan. However, around that time Khanna had announced his retirement from movies. Owing to this, the director had decided to cast Raj in the film instead.

However, when Raj got a call from Mehra, he was more scared than excited for the opportunity. His reaction was such because earlier he was supposed to be a part of a Dilip Kumar film but it did not work out last minute. Hence Raj was apprehensive and he asked Mehra if he could arrange a stay for him in Mumbai. The makers sent Raj a flight ticket to Mumbai and the actor came to the city with Rs 100 in his pocket. Raj also sold his scooter and gave the money to his wife as they had just welcomed their daughter. He had informed his wife that he would be away for a year.

However, luck was not in Raj's favour and he got fired from the film 'Namak Halaal'. The reason was that many people from the crew did not wish to work with him. Raj then told Prakash Mehra that since he had promised to work with him, he should at least allow him to stay in Mumbai for a year and the director agreed.

The role that was offered to Raj then went to Shashi Kapoor. 'Namak Halaal' also starred Smita Patil, Parveen Babi and Waheeda Rehman. The 1982 film went on to become the third highest-grossing Indian film of 1982, grossing Rs120 million (US$12.64 million). It is the biggest comedy blockbuster of all time in India, where it sold more than 20 million tickets, with an inflation-adjusted net income equivalent to nearly Rs 3 billion (US$36 million) as of 2019. It was remade in Telugu as Bhale Ramudu (1984) and in Tamil as Velaikaran.

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